Planning Portal

New planning policy will boost heritage assets - Durkan

Published on Mon, 14 Apr 2014 by
Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan today issued a new planning policy to safeguard historically significant places for future generations.
In many instances the cost of maintaining or renovating these places frequently exceeds their value to the owner or their market value following renovation. Funding for the conservation of these important places is difficult to secure from traditional sources and many are left to deteriorate and, ultimately, are lost forever.

‘Enabling Development’ sets out when developers may get planning permission, contrary to published planning policy, the justification being that it provides a vital source of funding to help restore a heritage asset, such as a historic building, in the public interest.

The planning policy allows for enabling developments that are contrary to planning policy, it nevertheless contains safeguards to ensure the approved development will not harm the heritage value of the significant place or its setting.

In announcing the policy Mark H Durkan said: “Northern Ireland is blessed with a wealth of significant places but many are under threat because of the inherent difficulty in securing funding for their conservation. Enabling Development can make good this funding shortfall or ‘conservation deficit’ and help ensure that these important places are preserved in the public interest.

“Schemes may take the form of a small residential development or other commercial proposal in the grounds of an endangered historic building, where the funds generated are used to finance the conservation of the building, securing its future for generations to come.”

The Minister continued: “The policy provides guidance on how such proposals will be assessed, bringing more certainty and simplicity to owners, developers, planners and all those with an interest in the conservation of significant places. It is an important part of my vision for a better environment and a stronger economy.”

Notes to editors:

1. This policy is the final version of Planning Policy Statement 23: Enabling Development which will be reflected in the single Strategic Planning Policy Statement (SPPS.) All planning policy statements are being simplified and shortened to make them easier to absorb into the SPPS. The Minister launched the draft SPPS for consultation on 4 February 2014 and the strategic elements of this policy will be reflected in the final SPPS which is to be in place for the transfer of planning powers to Councils in April 2015.

2. Historically significant places include scheduled monuments, archaeological remains, historic buildings (both statutorily listed or of more local significance) together with any historically related contents, industrial heritage, conservation areas and historic parks, gardens and demesnes.

3. The final version of PPS 23 takes account of the public consultation responses made in regard to Draft PPS 23.

4. All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office on 028 90256058. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
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